Three months ago, Music Week broke the news of a legal dispute between Four Tet and Domino over streaming royalties from three albums.
In a new twist, those three Four Tet albums have been pulled from streaming services.
The move has today prompted the Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) to call on Domino to reconsider their decision to withdraw the albums from DSPs.
In a joint statement, Annabella Coldrick, chief executive, Music Managers Forum and David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition, said: "The removal of Four Tet’s first three albums Pause, Rounds, and Everything Ecstatic from streaming services by Domino raises all kinds of moral and legal questions about rights assignment and the power of labels over an artist's work. Regardless of the legal dispute between the two parties this is a misguided and self-defeating move, and we urge them to reconsider.”
You can click here to read the full background to the case, which centres on the streaming royalty rate that the electronic artist should be paid by the label for three albums first released between 2001 and 2005.
The 2010 Four Tet album There Is Love In You released by Domino, which is not part of the legal dispute, is still available on streaming services.
Music Week has reached out to Domino for comment.
This is a misguided and self-defeating move, and we urge them to reconsider
Annabella Coldrick, MMF & David Martin, FAC
In a series of social media posts at the weekend, Four Tet (Kieran Hebden) said that the three albums were removed by Domino.
Hebden wrote: “I’m so upset to see that [Domino] have removed the three albums of mine they own from digital and streaming services. This is heartbreaking to me. People are reaching out asking why they can’t stream the music and I’m sad to have to say that it’s out of my control.
“I have an ongoing legal dispute with Domino over the rate they pay me for streaming that is due to be heard in court on the 18th of January. It was in the press a little while back.”
He added: “Earlier this week Domino’s legal representative said they would remove my music from all digital services in order to stop the case progressing. I did not agree to them taking this action and I’m truly shocked that it has come to this.
“I signed with Domino over 20 years ago, in a different time before streaming and downloads were something we thought about.”
“I believe there is an issue within the music industry on how the money is being shared out in the streaming era and I think it’s time for artists to be able to ask for a fairer deal.
“It’s time to try and make changes where we can. I’m not driven by the money, but I have to make a stand when I am experiencing something that’s simply unfair.”
The legal dispute came amid heightened awareness of streaming royalties as a result of the DCMS Committee inquiry into the economics of streaming.
"Ahead of the second reading of a Private Members Bill from Kevin Brennan MP and following the recent report by the DCMS Select Committee on the economics of streaming, there is also a timely context to this case,” added Annabella Coldrick and David Martin in their statement. “The FAC and MMF continue to press the government to instigate changes to the law to end ‘life of copyright’ deals and return rights ownership to artists and songwriters after a set period of time. Alongside other industry-led reforms, this would be an effective way to ensure legacy contracts are made fit for purpose in the streaming era, and that the fair treatment of artists, songwriters and musicians can be guaranteed in the future.”
The case between Four Tet and Domino continues and is set to go trial next year. A preliminary hearing took place earlier this month at the Royal Courts Of Justice.